Options shrink as Hawks have quiet day one of free agency


Options shrink as Hawks have quiet day one of free agency

The Chicago Blackhawks were an active bunch last July 1, gathering up one player after another, wrapping up the busy day by signing Daniel Carcillo.

This July 1, not so much.

The Blackhawks signed defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to a two-year contact, but otherwise stayed quiet as Day 1 of free agency ended on Sunday.

It was an active day for some the Colorado Avalanche were very busy - and a few good names are no longer options for general manager Stan Bowman. Feisty forward Brandon Prust signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Defenseman Jason Garrison, a British Columbia native, signed with the Vancouver Canucks.

A few big fish remain, as forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter will sleep on it Sunday night and likely select their suitors Monday.

The Blackhawks, however, probably arent on the short list of either player and the defensemen pool, which wasnt too deep to begin with, is really shallow now.

Bowman said prior to the draft that he believes the Blackhawks, as they are now, can compete for the Stanley Cup. Coach Joel Quenneville agreed. But if the Blackhawks are Cup worthy in 2012-13 they shouldve also been close in 2011-12. They werent. Be it supporting cast, be it defense, be it goaltending, the Blackhawks have needs to address.

There is plenty of time left in free agency. Trades are also possible throughout the summer. The Blackhawks have good pieces to give up to get what they need, but one way or another, this roster will get shuffled before next season begins.

The Blackhawks didnt have the biggest, flashiest start to this summer free agencytrade season. But they will need to do something by the time its finished.

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How big of a piece is Luis Robert in the White Sox rebuild?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: How big of a piece is Luis Robert in the White Sox rebuild?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Kevin Fishbain (Northwest Herald) join CSN's David Kaplan on the panel. The Cubs new-look offense explodes while the Brewers are none too pleased with Saturday’s cancellation. Is there a budding rivalry between neighbors?

The White Sox get their man and sign Cuban prospect Luis Robert. How big of a piece is he in the rebuild?

Plus, the guys discuss how Mike Glennon will react when he meets the media, and they’ll try to figure out why Kap goes full meatball when LeBron James struggles.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below. 

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